Hidden Hope Doctrine
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A passage in General Order 137 issued by General Aleksandr Kerensky on 5 October 2785, the Hidden Hope Doctrine set forth the goals and beliefs of the Exodus Fleet. While serving to bolster the flagging morale of Exodus fleet, it also formed the basis for the Clans belief that they would eventually return to the Inner Sphere.
In the wake of the Prinz Eugen Mutiny, General Aleksandr Kerensky had to address the faltering morale of his Exodus fleet. The mutiny itself was shocking, but the general's swift execution of the ringleaders was not accepted without question. The fleet had been travelling for nearly a year without any end in sight and now many among the former SLDF had begun to lose faith in their General, questioning if he actually had a final destination.
In order to quell the growing dissent Kerensky's response was to issue General Order 137, in which he set forth the goals and beliefs of the Star League exiles and emphasized the need for discipline in the face of adversity. At the core of General Order 137 was a passage that became known as the Hidden Hope Doctrine:
|“||Return to the Inner Sphere is impossible for us. Our heritage and our convictions are different from those we left behind. The greed of the five Great Houses and the Council Lords is a disease that can only be burned away by the passing of decades, even centuries. And though the fighting may seem to slow, or even cease, it will erupt again as long as there are powerful men to covet one another's wealth. We shall live apart, conserving all the good of the Star League and ridding ourselves of the bad, so that when we return — and return we shall — our shining moral character will be as much our shield as our BattleMechs and fighters.||”|
This statement by General Kerensky boosted the morale of his followers and gave them hope to continue their journey long enough to discover and settle upon the Pentagon Worlds. After the death of General Kerensky, his son Nicholas also gave the Hidden Hope doctrine to those who joined him on his Second Exodus, viewing it as a literal order to be followed, bordering on a divine revelation from his father.
However due to the ambiguous nature of the doctrine, the circumstances of the return to Inner Sphere would be interpreted differently by what would be later called the Warden and Crusader movements. The Wardens saw the promise of return as an ideal to inspire the Clans to greatness rather than a literal command, that the Kerenskys meant the Clans to develop free of Inner Sphere ways while remaining ready to defend their lost home against any outside threat. The Crusaders however took a literal view of the Hidden Hope, as a direct order to raise a new Star League from the ashes of Inner Sphere civilization with them at its head.
To this day, General Order 137, the Hidden Hope Doctrine, is inscribed just above eye level in the common rooms of all Clan vessels as a reminder of the Great Father and his ideals, as well as forming the basis of the Clans justice system.
The idea of a return to the Inner Sphere - commonly called "The Return" - was intertwined with the Hidden Hope Doctrine, but began its first stirrings as a political imperative in 2980. In 2984 a smattering of intelligence reports about the Periphery were received in Clan space, prompting the Great Debate that divided the Clans into the Crusader and Warden factions that would dominate clan politics for two centuries as each argued over their interpretation of what the Hidden Hope doctrine should mean for the Clans.
- Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 17
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 9, "Hidden Hope"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 80, "Operation REVIVAL"